Charlie Whitten’s Playwright EP is out August 25th

We’re excited to share the first taste from Nashville sing-songwriter Charlie Whitten’s new EP today! You can head over to Atwood Magazine to check out the wonderful track review they’ve done up.

Charlie Whitten grew up during the last gasp of the 20th century, a time when grungy rock bands and teen idols ruled the airwaves. You can’t blame the guy for looking back a bit, for rustling through his Dad’s collection of vintage records and finding some better music to soundtrack his life. Years later, the Nashville-based songwriter is rolling those influences into his own sound, a mellow brand of folk-rock that tips its hat to Pink Floyd’s psychedelic swirl one minute and Simon and Garfunkel’s acoustic wistfulness the next. 

Some would call him an old soul. Others would just say he’s got good taste. 

“For me, the ‘60s and ‘70s were the golden age for songwriting,” he says. “That’s when songs seemed to be the real focus, and people reached outside the box. The chords and melodies used were unheard of.” 

Dreaming, Whitten’s 2012 debut, channeled some of the trippier sounds that came out of those two decades, from Dark Side of the Moon to Big Star’s Sister Lovers. The album was lush. It was dreamy. Keyboards, horns, and percussion collided, creating a soft foundation for Whitten’s vocals and guitar leads. When it came time to write songs for 2014’s Hey Love, though, Whitten took the electric guitar out of the forefront and focused on a quieter, stripped-down sound. In other words: less David Gilmour, more Don McLean. 

A concept album about searching for love, Hey Love begins and ends with different sections of the same song. Fashioned like bookends, the first half tells the story of a couple parting ways, each partner in search of something else. In the second, they reconcile, knowing that things might not be perfect… but at least they’re real. Whitten took a similar approach to the album itself, which was recorded during a series of live sessions with a four-piece band. Overdubs were eventually added, too, but Whitten put his foot down when it came to the use of a click track. He didn’t want that. He wanted the songs to sway, to sound natural, to sound like songs. 

“Any Charlie Whitten album has to sound like a band album,” he explains, “and I didn’t want a band of session players. I wanted a group of friends, of creative thinkers who could play the songs with feeling. I think a music album should be very similar to a photo album: a series of ‘pictures’ with the people you know, things you’ve seen, and places you’ve been within a period of time.” 

Maybe that’s why Hey Love sounds so comfortable, so familiar. The songs tackle big subjects, but they do so with small, laidback touches: a whistling solo here, a burst of organ there, and a whole lot of melody throughout.

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Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers return with new album, ‘The Long-Awaited Album’

Grammy Award-winning comedian and musician Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers return with new album, ‘The Long-Awaited Album’

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers will release “The Long-Awaited Album” on Rounder Records/Decca Records on 22nd September. “The Long-Awaited Album,” Martin’s newest collaboration with the Grammy-winning North Carolina-based  band the Steep Canyon Rangers, is full of stories that mix humour and melancholy, whimsy and realism, rich characters and concrete details. And lots of banjos. 

That instrument – so dexterously, even acrobatically picked and strummed – is just as crucial to relating these new tales as the lyrics themselves, each chord and riff revealing new depths to Martin’s narrators and to his musical talent. Produced by Peter Asher, the new album is a collection of 14 stunning new songs including the boisterous and humorous new track “Caroline,” the deeply romantic tune “All Night Long,” and the fantastical song “Santa Fe,” which showcases the lively dynamic between Martin and the Rangers.

Steve Martin’s musical career is an extension of the storytelling impulse that drove his work as a comedian, an actor, a screenwriter, a playwright, an essayist, and a novelist. The Grammy® Award winning musician found his love for the banjo at the age of 17 and originally used the instrument as part of his stand-up comedy routine. But in 2010, Martin released his first album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-Strong Banjo, and since then, Martin has played many prestigious stages including Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Stagecoach, Bonnaroo, New Orleans’ Jazzfest and The Newport Folk Festival, Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Martin released his second full-length bluegrass album Rare Bird Alert in 2011. The album featured 13 Martin-penned tracks as well as special guest vocal appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks. Additionally, Martin co-wrote two of the CD’s songs with the Steep Canyon Rangers. That year, Martin also won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.  

Martin also collaborated with Edie Brickell on the critically acclaimed album Love Has Come For You, which combines Martin’s five-string banjo work with Brickell’s vivid vocals. Martin and Brickell took home the Grammy® Award for “Best American Roots Song” for the album’s title track. Martin and Brickell’s second collaboration “So Familiar” earned widespread critical acclaim and also inspired the Broadway musical Bright Star, which was nominated for five Tony Awards.

The Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin will host their album release celebration on Saturday, set 30 2017 at The IBMA World of Bluegrass –  in the state where it all began for them.

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Billy Strings’ Debut LP, Tinfoil & Turmoil, Out September 22nd

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Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons release their album this Friday, July 28th.

The Seattle folklorists & legendary bluesman release their album this Friday, July 28th.

As we gear up for the official release of A Black & Tan Ball we are excited to have the full album streaming over on The Bluegrass Situation today! American Songwriter premiered “Longin’ For My Sugar” calling it “a soulful, melancholy tune originally recorded by Leroy Carr that meditates on the pain of a failed romance” while Glide Magazine featured the track “Shanghai Rooster” saying “played in the “greasy” style, “Shanghai Rooster” is the kind of tune you can picture being played at a rowdy gathering in the deep South at the turn of the century.” American Blues Scene premiered “Do You Call That A Buddy” lauding it as “just one of the outstanding performances on A Black & Tan Ball.”
There’s a duality to the music of Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons; the same duality that lies at the heart of the blues. It’s the dichotomy between the weight of history that hangs over black America and the lightness of these old folk songs, which are meant to uplift and charm, to trick away danger, to fool authority, to squeeze a person out of harm’s way, but also to assert a subtle sense of worth and dignity. These songs brought black Americans through the darkest years of our country’s history, and they have an unsettling amount of currency in today’s world, where saying that the blues is black music or even saying that the life of a black person matters are both controversial statements.

The music that renowned Seattle roots duo Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons are making on their new album, A Black & Tan Ball, is not just blues music. The better term is a new and important one: Black Americana. To make this music, they’ve recruited good friend and touring partner Phil Wiggins, an eclectic legend of American blues harmonica (who received an NEA National Heritage Fellowship this year). By pulling together the many threads of black American roots music, and demonstrating the underlying meanings behind the black experience in folk music, Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons are showing another side to Americana that can help expand the genre’s boundaries.

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NPR has the new video for “Irene” from Courtney Marie Andrews, announcing special re-issue of “Honest Life”

Courtney Marie Andrews has released a video for “Irene” off of her breakout record Honest Life today over on NPR. The song is an anthem for the timid, a beautiful hymn to bolster confidence and believe in your potential. Andrews sums it up perfectly saying “Irene is the little voice inside most of us, that says we aren’t good enough, or strong enough. It’s about shutting that voice off, while also accepting life’s inevitable struggles. It’s about coming to terms with you are, and believing in that person. Irene was written for a friend who was going through a confusing time, but like some songs do, over time it turned into a song about not only myself, but all of the women that I love. Irene is amazing, she just doesn’t know it yet.”
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Mama Bird Recording Co. & Fat Possum Records are pleased to announce the release of an exclusive coke-bottle green vinyl of Honest Life to independent record stores. This version will include a bonus 7″ of unreleased recordings.  The bundle is limited to 400 copies and can be purchased on September 15, 2017.

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News from Hearth PR

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The crew over here at Hearth is really excited about everything happening over the coming months so wanted to get you a slew of the albums we’re working from now till October! If you’d like any more info, downloads or other materials, on any of these releases please do let me know!

Charlie Whitten‘s new EP, Playwright, is coming out August 25th. The whole thing is phenomenal, a quick 4-song EP showcasing a moment in time for the young songwriter. The writing on each of these tracks is wonderful and points to Whitten’s budding brilliance but the up-tempo, jaunty, pining of “Since She’s Gone”, with it’s entwining of heart-break, acceptance and humility is really impressive.

We’ve got an EP coming from Minneapolis-based Humbird coming August 25th, beautiful indie folk settings on this one that tap into the stark forests of the Midwest and the cold North

Billy Strings new psychedelic americana-meets-thrash-bluegrass album is wild (he’s an explosive guitarist!) with some really trippy stuff going on, it drops September 22nd 

The radio wing of HearthPR will be working an amazing album September 8th from Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton. Both were founding members of the Be Good Tanyas (one of our most favorite bands) and this new album is a kind of return to roots for them. It’s also the first time they’ve collaborated together again in a good number of years. If you want a copy for press, we can refer you to their press publicist, otherwise our radio buddies will be getting hard copies shortly!

Lenore.‘s first single has been lauded by Uproxx who said it “features their entwining harmonies — which is the most arresting part of their sound — along with handclaps, a clever guitar lick, and low, slow bass line holding it all together. The track is deceptively simple, building into intricacies as it unfolds, and the legendary Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers) takes over lead vocal duties.”

They’ve brought together an all-star cast from Eric Bachmann on the first single to Neko Case’s Paul Rigby and Dan Hunt and Death Cab For Cutie’s Dave Depper to fill out their witchy folk pop self-titled debut, due out September 15th.

Anna Tivel is a Portland-based songwriter who I watched three people breakdown sobbing at her show the other night. She’s one of those songwriters who collects these visceral stories and conveys them so astutely that you’d think she had lived more than a dozen lives, hers is out September 29th on Fluff & Gravy Records.

Silver Torches is the project of Erik Walters, who plays guitar with Perfume Genius and David Bazan, and is a Springsteen meets PNW indie folk/americana record that I cannot get enough of – Courtney Marie Andrews, Greg Leisz and Noah Gundersen feature on it, his is out October 6th.

Another release on Fluff & Gravy Records, Portland songwriter Jeffrey Martin has been one of the Northwest’s best-kept secrets for far too long. His new album was made while he was off the road and working as a creative writing teacher in a small rural Oregon town. The stories of his students fed into his creative outlet, and the songs on his new album are both beautiful and heart-rending. A glimpse into the broken hearts of America’s rural families. Jeffrey’s album drops October 13.

We’re so excited to be working with Dori Freeman again on her sophomore album! It’ll be produced by Teddy Thompson again and released October 20. It’s a mix of Dori’s originals, though tempered with a slightly more positive outlook, plus some tastefully arranged traditional pieces. Dori’s voice is shockingly great, but hearing her sing true Appalachian music for the first time is a revelation. 

Another album in October (Oct 27) has been a long-time coming. It’s an unusual but very cool collaboration between old-school hip-hop head Mr. Lif and San Francisco-based Balkan brass band Brass Menazeri. If you’ve never heard hip-hop with brass before, you are in for a treat! It’s one of my favorite sounds (you’d be amazed at how well a tuba lays down the bass beats). 

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Speaking bluntly, Chip Taylor fires off “Fuck All the Perfect People”, the title track from his album release with The New Ukrainians. Character is the theme for the video with passersby joining in to deliver the world view of Chip Taylor and the New Ukrainans.

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One from the past..Betty Elders – Daddy’s Coal



Daddy’s Coal ~ 1989
This gem was recorded in a South Austin garage with an old Peavey p.a. system, and originally relased on cassette!  Proof that true creative ability cannot be constrained by a lack of materials.  The essentials were in place—-great songs, great musicians, great ears (engineering, production)
The title cut, “Daddy’s Coal,” is timeless and startling in its profundity.  Betty’s and Hal’s (Ketchum) vocals soar effortlessly and majestically above a lyrical but sparse acoustic bed (Betty’s guitar, John Hagen’s cello), in the same way the symbolic eagle of her song soars “upon the wind”.  This song is as much a triumphant testimonial to a child’s love for parent as it is a memorial to innocence lost by an entire Viet Nam War generation. The memory of such loss is simply and tenderly expressed in both the title cut and the traditional, “A Drifter’s Prayer”  — perfect portrait of a loss of faith.   A soul with its tether cut.
Everyman’s song.
The prophetic “Jericho” expounds on the lack of virtue displayed by TV evangelism, and the anthemic “Pilgrim” close the too-short collection,  proving once again that one can indeed make much with little.
Note: the CD version contins a bonus gem: a raw living room recording of Betty and Gene’s living room performance of “Two Hearts Together, Three-Quarter Time.”
Very collectible. 
DADDY’s COAL ~ 1989
Produced and arranged by Betty Elders 1. Bed Of Roses/ Bed Of Thorns  3:31
2. Heartache  4:14
3. A Drifter’s Prayer  3:05
4. Daddy’s Coal  6:02
5. I  Never Think Of You At All  2:37
6. Jericho  3:14
7. Welcome Home Heart  3:22
8. Silver Wheels (#2)  3:22
9. Two Hearts Together, Three-Quarter Time  3:26
10. The Pilgrim  3:26


Betty: acoustic guitars, keyboards, harmony vocals
Gene Elders: 5-string violin
Scott Neubert: acoustic and electric lead guitars, dobro
Rick McRae: acoustic guitar on “Silver Wheels” and “Welcome Home Heart”
Gene Williams: acoustic guitar, electric bass on ” A Drifter’s Prayer”
Keith Carper: double bass
Roland Denney: string bass
John Hagen: cello on “Daddy’s Coal”
Rene Garcia: trombone on “Welcome Home Heart”
Hal Michael Ketchum: harmony vocal on “Daddy’s Coal”
Tommy Daniel, Bow Brannon, and Doug Floyd: harmony vocals on “A Drifter’s Prayer”

Recorded at: MARS (Mid-Austin Recording Studio),   AWOL Studio (Manor TX), and Songwriter Studio
Engineers: Charlie Hollis, Rick Ward, and Jess DeMaine
Mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova Digital Audio, Austin, TX
Cover concept and jacket photographs: Betty and her dad, Charlie Pruett, Jr.


She always knew she would be an artist. Her love of music, melody and words began longer ago than she can now remember. The relentless stirring of the mortal soul, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me…” left an indelible imprint on her music. That hymn, her first musical memory, would shape her future.
Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, of Scottish descent, Betty began playing piano at the age of Four, and by age six had already begun to compose melodies. She loved hymns. She loved the rhythm of poetry, especially the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost. By age ten, she had written several of her own. One, “Snow,” would be honored by the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in 1961.
Betty studied ballet and taught herself to play guitar by listening to records. At fourteen she formed a folk trio with two girlfriends. Just Us, and they played at talent shows and cafes, displaying an eclectic musical repertoire and love of vocal harmonies. In the wake of the arrival of the Beatles and the sounds of the British invasion, Betty played drums for a year in an all-girl Beatles cover band. Soon more dynamic rhythms and melodies caught her ears, in the music of Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Jackie DeShannon, and James Brown.
Summers were spent at her aunt and uncle’s farm in Woodlawn, Virginia. There Betty added to her influences the lilting harmonies loved by her uncle; the memorable refrains of Ralph Staniey, The Clinch Mountain Boys and, of course, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. Once again. her love of yearning melodies and harmonic voices was rekindled.
Later, the folk artists of the sixties and seventies expressed yearning with a social and political conscience, leading Betty in another direction. One of Betty’s “favorite first songs I ever learned to fingerpick on guitar” was Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” It will still occasionally surface on her set list, when homage is being paid to those influences which artfully combine great poetry with great music.
From birth until she recorded her first album of original songs, After the Curtain, in 1981, Betty Elders’ music had been shaped by all she beheld. In its diversity one may clearly see her love of that music which speaks to the soul’s struggles, its yearnings, from the early influence of church hymns to popular music, to an education in the brilliant blues of Gershwin’s melancholy, the vast expansive scores of Aaron Copeland and Ferde Grofe, and the exquisite marriage of rhythm and melody in the orchestrations of Maurice Jarre. Betty still claims Jarre’s score for the movie. “Thee Comancheros.” to be among her favorite film scores of all time.
Betty settled in Austin, Texas, in 1984. Her self-produced release Daddy’s Coal was issued on her own Whistling Pig Music label in 1989, and earned her several year-end awards from Austin’s Music City Texas Insider: Best Independent Tape, Song of the Year (shared by two of Betty’s songs), Best Female Vocalist and Best Female Songwriter. The release of Peaceful Existence, issued in 1993 on Whistling Pig, resulted in another round of awards from the Insider’s poll and the Austin Chronicle’s Music Poll. It also attracted a degree of critical acclaim truly unusual for a release on an artist’s own label. Reviews in Detroit’s Metro Times, Detroit Free Press, Austin Chronicle, Performing Songwriter, Richmond Times Dispatch Dirty Linen, Folk Roots and many other publications range in tone from laudatory to reverential. Dave Goodrich of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette named Peaceful Existence one of the five best releases of the decade.
She’s been a featured artist in six standing-room-only showcases in the internationally renowned South-by-Southwest Music and Media Conference 1989-1994. Meanwhile, she co-authored “He Never Got Enough Love” on Lucinda Williams’ critically acclaimed 1992 release, Sweet Old World.
Highlights of the 1994 season include her performance on National Public Radio’s “Mountain Stage program Jan. 9; a successful tour of the Northeastern U.S. in July; the release of Daddy’s Coal on CD; and her enthusiastically received performance on the Main Stage at the 1994 Kerrville Folk Festival. 

What Betty Elders Peers Are Saying

Betty’s songs and her sweet, haunting voice call forth the spirit of Appalachia combined with a keen vision and revealing honesty about what really matters. Betty is a favorite of mine and deserves to be heard!
Lucinda Williams

It is and has been to me for some time a source of amazement that an artist of Betty’s caliber has not been recognized yet on a national level. Maybe this will be the album that slaps some heads.
Iain Matthews

Her music will touch your soul. From deep inside the genuine person she is, Betty Elders’ songs speak through the pain and happiness of all the moments. Just simply being–and carrying on. I hope she always does.
Jimmy LaFave


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Sera Cahoone heads out on first full band tour in 5 years this fall!

Cahoone readies for first full-band tour in 5 years!

We’re very excited to announce that Sera Cahoone is heading out on tour this September! This past year has seen her touring with the likes of Tift Merrit, Son Volt and Gregory Alan Isakov but now she’s ready to strike out on with her full band in tow to support From Where I Started.

We had some wonderful press for the album including the NPR First Listen Stephen Thompson wrote up here and CBC’s First Play here. This fantastic interview on Uproxx, a glowing No Depression review, this piece on LGTBQNation referencing the interview Cahoone had with Jewly Hight for NPR’s Songs We LoveElle Magazine’s ’10 Best New Songs’ of March and a great American Songwriter piece. Beyond that Sera’s album received high praise from the Bluegrass Situation, Saving Country Music, Curve Magazine, KEXP, Paste, The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan, Seattle Weekly and a ton more.


The world of American roots music is no stranger to Seattle songwriter Sera Cahoone. Even though her last three albums were on Sub Pop Records and she spent years at the top of the indie charts, she’s always had a streak of Americana that ran through her music, a love of the humble folk song that bolstered her art. She’s returning now to these earliest influences with her new album, From Where I Started (to be released March 24, 2017). Growing up, Cahoone first found her voice in Colorado dive bars, backing up old blues musicians at age 12 on the drums. Her father, a Rocky Mountain dynamite salesman, took the family along to mining conferences and old honky-tonks in the state. The sounds she heard there—the twang of country crooners, cowboy boots on peanut shells—have stayed with her all the way to Seattle, where she lives now, and the seminal indie rock bands she’s been a part of in the city (Carissa’s Weird, Band of Horses).

To make From Where I Started, her first new album since 2012’s Dear Creek Canyon, Cahoone traveled south to Portland to work with producer John Askew (Neko Case, Laura Gibson, Alela Diane). Askew brought together key Portland musicians like Rob Berger (Iron and Wine, Lucinda Williams), Dave Depper (Death Cab For Cutie) and Annalisa Tornfelt (Black Prairie) with Cahoone’s Seattle bandmates – Jeff Fielder (Mark Lanegan, Amy Ray) and Jason Kardong (Son Volt, Jay Farrar). The band lays a deep bedrock beneath Cahoone’s songs, supporting her arcing vocals and innovative guitar and banjo playing. The album is driven by a strong rhythmic sensibility, owed to Cahoone’s background as a drummer for indie rock bands. “A lot of my songs start as a beat, I add guitar, then lyrics at the end,” she says. “When I write songs I usually sit at my drum kit playing both drums and guitar at the same time.”

From Where I Started plays on the rougher, darker edges of the traditional love song. Like any good country album, the songs here deal with love and loss, but Cahoone also knows how to surround loss with hope, to temper a sad song with a turn in the major key. The optimism of the love song “Up To Me,” buoyed by fingerpicked guitar and banjo, gives way to the weary resignation of “Taken Its Toll,” with its plaintive pedal steel and echoing vocal harmonies. “Ladybug,” is a poignant song that followed the tragic death of Cahoone’s cousin Tawnee.

From Where I Started represents a refocusing for Sera Cahoone. It positions her as a songwriter beholden to the old country sounds she grew up with, a songwriter who’s always been able to deftly translate a personal perspective into a universal view. It’s an album about falling in and out of love, finding new hope, and learning that the best way to move forward is to remember whereyou began.

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Edgelarks by Edgelarks: Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin release date

Edgelarks fly in on the tailwind of BBC award winning duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. The new band name comes with anew project, taking the roots of their previous work – British traditional musics, Indian classical slide guitar, stomping roots beatbox harmonica party; adds a strong stem of original writing; and runs wilder with each gig.
definition: Edgelark (verb) – to sing about or from the margins 

This album is about transitional spaces. Liminal places, people and times, the straddling of boundaries and thresholds; crossroads and borderlands; travellers and refugees; dusk and dawn. The pause between an old way and a new. The idea that, despite often being places of marginalisation, these are also places of change – and therefore places of hope. That, when social norms break down, when you are between two established worlds, there is a chance for new perspectives. That in the end, we have far more in common than things that divide us, because we are all liminal – we are all standing on the threshold of tomorrow. We are all just passing through.
releases October 6, 2017 
Hannah Martin – lead vocals, banjo, tenor guitar, fiddle, viola, shruti box 
Phillip Henry – vocals, Dobro, Weissenborn, Chatturangui, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitar, tenor guitar, electric lap steel, shruti box 
John Elliott – drums, percussion, piano, Moog synth, harmonium 
Lukas Drinkwater – electric bass, double bass 
Niall Robinson – tabla 
Recorded May 2017 at Cube Recording, Cornwall. 
Produced by Phillip Henry and John Elliott. 
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Gareth Young. 
Assistant engineer Matt Conybeare. 
All lyrics by Hannah Martin, all music by Martin / Henry, except What’s The Life of a Man? and Estren, trad. arr. Martin / Henry. 
Photography and sleeve design by Elly Lucas.

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